I come across expressive personalities a little less than I do amiable and analytical in the tech world. I meet a lot in the marketing industries I have always worked in and almost made a career out of brokering communication and collaboration between our analytical friends and expressives.
I had had a period of time in a team I led a few years ago where we had mainly analytical and amiable personality types in the team and had pretty much nailed how we could all communicate and best support each other. We remembered our social styles training and would commonly use the pointers we learned to adapt our own styles to get the best out of our team mates and created a common team intelligence almost.
Almost out of nowhere we suddenly had two expressives in the team after a recruitment drive, which left us all reaching for our notes wondering what to do. Suddenly the team work area was much nosier and messier. Our reward system was being questioned and processes challenged. They talked passionately in meetings and sent the analyticals and amiables in to their shells. At times they completely disrupted the team in their work and productivity in the immediate vicinity started to decline.
So, we moved them both to sit next to each other in an attempt to give them both a more familiar environment (and frankly to try and isolate the disruption from the team members that were complaining about the music and ‘banter’). This was a disaster as it almost doubled the dose and amplified the issues so I had to rethink.
I needed these people in my team. I needed their passion, the fun, their commitment, the challenge of the status quo and personally I enjoyed the challenge, the variation and the transparent nature of the relationship – you generally know where you stand with an expressive whether they are willing to tell you or not. I therefore didn’t want to lose these people but had to make sure I could still get the best out of my other team members who were struggling.
We did a team refresher on our personality styles and made sure we were all taking in to account all of the styles. I reminded the team of the value each personality style brings to the team and how it was important that we harnessed the best of each style and were aware of how to manage the more challenging areas.
We agreed some boundaries as a team and I committed to enforcing them. This created tensions at times but brought a balance back in terms of a more normal and manageable level of conflict that the team knew how to manage themselves. After a while, we settled back down in to a chirpier, more fun and fresh thinking team….with music on from time to time!